DiscoverBuild Your Network347: Shaan Patel | Shark Tank and Partnering with Mark Cuban
347: Shaan Patel | Shark Tank and Partnering with Mark Cuban

347: Shaan Patel | Shark Tank and Partnering with Mark Cuban

Update: 2019-11-03


Shaan Patel is the founder of Prep Expert, an SAT prep company, which he began with Mark Cuban on Shark Tank. He attended USC on a full academic scholarship, continued on to get his MD, got an MBA from Yale, and is currently a dermatology resident, and did all this while founding and growing his business Prep Expert and publishing books.


Episode Highlights:

  • Shaan was raised in the motel his parents owned and ran in Las Vegas, surrounded by entrepreneurship.
  • Shaan’s parents took education seriously and put him in magnet schools for math and science to compensate for the poor public schools in Las Vegas.
  • His parents didn’t just pay lip service to the importance of education, but they practiced what they preached and led by example.
  • Through entirely self-directed work, Shaan raised his SAT score from average to perfect, netting him a quarter million dollars in scholarship money.
  • He knew right away that he wanted to write an SAT prep book, but stresses the importance of allowing yourself to enjoy your accomplishments before immediately moving onto the next big project.
  • He pitched his book to every publisher he could think of and got 100 rejections.
  • In response to the rejections, he took all the content he had created and developed it into an SAT prep course, hired web designers and SEO experts, and launched his course.
  • He taught the course himself the first year and raised students’ scores by over 300 points.
  • Shaan realized he couldn’t grow the business while teaching every class, especially while he was in medical school, so he trained other instructors and discovered his course still achieved the same excellent results so he knew he would be able to scale it.
  • To support his efforts to scale up the business, he took a leave of absence from med school to get his MBA.
  • Mc-Graw Hill publishers ended up offering him a book deal after seeing the growth of his company, and the test prep book was #1 on Amazon.
  • He auditioned for Shark Tank while pursuing his MBA, pulling out his test prep book, which gave him the authority and clout he needed to advance to the next round of the show.
  • The chances of getting to pitch in front of the sharks on Shark Tank is 0.02%, which also happens to be the percent chance of getting a perfect SAT score.
  • You only see a couple minutes of the pitch, but he was in front of the sharks for an hour and a half getting grilled.
  • Before Shark Tank, he had done about $1 million in sales; since Shark Tank, he’s done $20 million in sales.
  • Shaan’s customers aren’t high school student, but the parents of the students.
  • The most beneficial aspect wasn’t the funding Mark Cuban gave him, but it’s the connection to Mark Cuban in itself.
  • Shaan and Mark Cuban co-authored a book about entrepreneurship.
  • In addition to his business, Mark Cuban has also improved Shaan’s personal development and self-help brand by promoting his books.
  • Shaan believes who you know is more important than what you know.
  • Shaan is currently in the last year of his dermatology residency.
  • Random Round: a quick series of random questions to get to know Shaan.

3 Key Points:

  1. Allow yourself time to enjoy your successes and self-reflect before immediately jumping to the next project.
  2. As an entrepreneur, your marketing is your product, so put the most energy into making your product the best it can be.
  3. The years of work you put in when you have no network are what grows your circle and leads to opportunities you probably couldn’t have predicted.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “You should always take some time to enjoy and relax. I didn’t immediately go and be like, I’m going to start an SAT prep company as soon as I got that score. I had the idea to write an SAT prep book but I didn’t do that right away because I just worked my ass off.” –Shaan Patel
  • “Your product is your... For information regarding your data privacy, visit
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347: Shaan Patel | Shark Tank and Partnering with Mark Cuban

347: Shaan Patel | Shark Tank and Partnering with Mark Cuban